Way back in 1990, when Madonna was consistently perched majestically on the number one slot of the UK charts, I can remember my peers and I thinking she was an inexplicable female force to be reckoned with. Watching her storm around on stage during the ‘Blonde Ambition’ tour, we all marvelled at her conical bras, her relentless fight for physical perfection; jogging around Hyde Park with a mass of bodyguards and paparazzi at 5.30am every day and her concrete resolve in refusing to be told ‘no’ at any point during a 24 hour cycle. Who could forget the three- minute tirade during her Wembley gig that year, when she repeated the ‘f’ word more times than you could count on your fingers and toes; all as a tantrum reaction to her previous legal restrictions in the Canadian leg of her tour?
Fast forward 25 years to this years’ Brit Awards and that same iron lady was clearly in there somewhere, but both dishevelled and augmented at the same time and without that inimitable fire in her teutonically toned belly. Knowing she would be making her first British television performing appearance in 20 years, I had been positively champing at the bit with anticipation of this iconic piece of theatre. Instead, as we all know… things went very horribly wrong. Whether it was a publicity stunt or a genuine mistake on the Armani designers part we’ll never really know, but as the self-confessed queen of pop tumbled clumsily off a stack of steps, all I could think was that for the first time in 3o years of her public appearances, she looked really silly. Even throughout her all-encompassing ‘Truth or Dare’ documentary when she had admitted to never wanting to live off camera, she had never looked silly.. she’d even managed to break wind on camera but saved the moment with a home-grown poem about ‘farts’.
This time, she fell… lost the track for a few nano-seconds, seemingly pulled herself together whilst finally pulling the offending cloak off and like the pro she is, proved that ‘the show must go on’. The Twittersphere went positively volcanic within minutes of the unexpected accident. Expressions of pride, admiration, pity, hero-worship, conspiracy and all-round emotional outpouring occurred for a good 40 minutes or so. This is what the great lady would have wanted; instant world-saturated publicity.. she’d even managed to inadvertently co-ordinate the words of her song with the fall and make herself seem insanely professional at the same time!
But to me, the whole episode made me feel sad. Sad because whether her fall was a shameless cry for attention to boost her depleting sales or whether it was a genuine wardrobe/choreographic malfunction, it seemed the mighty Madonna’s invincibility had finally been shattered. The magic and mystery of her meteor; ever rising and reinventing itself had finally crashed and burned and its something I thought I’d never see. The casual message Madonna had left on Instagram following her peculiar reappearance attempted to show cheerful resolve and casual disregard for any talk of disaster.. ” Armani hooked me up.. I’m Ok”.
Let’s hope that on the launch of her next single she doesn’t attempt to sing from the moon or from the mercy of a 100ft bungee…. if either of them went wrong, no amount of tweeting would bring her back, either literally or professionally.